Information Net for December 30

Be Prepared for an Emergency. Be Red Cross Ready!

Read by: RICK N9GRW

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener


Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 Respirator or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan

Know What to Do in Case of Emergency
It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.

The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:

  • Meet with your family or household members.
  • Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.

Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency


Choose two places to meet:

  1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
  2. Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate

Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.

Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.

Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.

Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.Let Your Family Know You’re Safe If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for “Disaster” to register yourself and your family.

New Year’s Resolution: Become a CERT Leader


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept is a major, growing concern in the quickly evolving arena of emergency management on a micro versus macro scale and deserves the full attention of ARES and indeed any radio amateur as a top priority for the coming year.
CERT is the wave of the future — the immediate future — as limited resources for disaster response at all levels of government (local, state and federal) are bumping up against ever-increasing need of the populace in the face of elevating incidence and ferocity of natural and man-made disaster. The CERT concept is part of the answer to the horns of this dilemma: residents on a street or apartment complex in their neighborhood will network and be trained to take care of themselves in the first critical post-disaster hours and possibly days when no outside help is available. Think of the CERT program as a kind of block party, only instead of socializing over hot dogs and hamburgers, neighbors get together to train and plan to look after each other when under siege of disaster effects. When you really think about this concept, it has implications that are of a serious, life and death nature.

The CERT program is a FEMA program, part of its Citizen Corps and Ready campaigns, but had its origins in forward-thinking fire and EMS units in southern California decades ago. Neighbors are trained in conducting an initial assessment of their own homes and survival kits. They learn to reduce the immediate dangers presented by a disaster by turning off utilities, suppressing small fires, evacuating the area, and helping others.


They learn to treat people in the immediate area. They learn to implement their own Incident Command System – they establish a command post, staging area, and medical triage and treatment areas. They learn to collect damage information and develop a plan of operation based on life-saving priorities and available resources. And they learn to establish and maintain communications with responders and the outside world.The radio amateur, especially an ARES-registered operator, is the ideal candidate for forming and leading a neighborhood Community Emergency Response Team. A critical part of the CERT’s planning and operations is radio communications, and we as radio amateurs have the experience and credibility for this emergency support function out of the gate. Become a CERT leader! Every journey of recruiting a dozen homes on a street for a CERT begins with the first, perhaps your next door neighbor. Talk to him or her “over the fence” and start planning and drafting your team. Read and use the FEMA publication Starting and Maintaining a CERT.

There are many resources to help you! You can start with FEMA’s Independent Study Course on CERT. A reader recently called my attention to a new library of disaster-related training with numerous videos, including several on Neighborhood Preparedness and Response. I haven’t had a chance to review it yet, but I will. The library can be accessed at the Just In Time Disaster Training web site.
FEMA has a number of resources available to the CERT members and leader. You can get the CERT National Newsletter. You can Search CERT programs by ZIP code. You can get a Directory of Existing CERTs by State.


You can register a new CERT program with FEMA on-line. This page is to register CERT programs only, however, not to register individuals or individual teams sponsored by a local CERT Program. To be an official CERT Program, the program must be operated by a local emergency response organization such as your local Fire Department or Office of Emergency Management and endorsed by the local Citizen Corps Council if your community has one. The program coordinators must conduct the CERT Basic Training Course and hold a CERT exercise at least once a year. There must be a point of contact to be posted with other program information on the national CERT website.

Search to find a CERT program in your locale to help you set up and establish your neighborhood CERT. The CERT concept can also be extended to workplaces – the same ideals apply!
Conclusion: You are On Your Own! “Winging It is Not an Emergency Plan”
The government’s promotional language often reads like this: “When a disaster or overwhelming event occurs and responders are not immediately available, CERTs can assist . . .” Let’s examine what they’re really saying in plain terms: When your house and family are in immediate danger in the first minutes and hours after a disaster, you are on your own. There will likely be no EMS, fire, police nor any other agency responders to save you and your family and neighbors. Your survival is up to you alone, based on your preparations and the help from your immediate neighbors on your street. Your chances will be greatly enhanced with an organized neighborhood response, the kind of response that is at the heart of the CERT concept. Make it your New Year’s resolution to form your own neighborhood CERT!

— Rick Palm, K1CE

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